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Daily News Analysis

Iran and Turkey can team-up in Yemen

Crescent International

It is now an accepted axiom that the Saudi regime has lost the military and political sides of the war in Yemen.

The Ansarullah Islamic movement in Yemen has astonished most observers as it has withstood the five-year-long onslaught waged by a coalition of heavily armed states.

The war, however, continues and all diplomatic solutions are being blocked by the Saudis simply out of arrogance.

Thus, an innovative political road map needs to be put in place which excludes the Saudis and brings in Turkey.

According to Uprising Today (formerly known as Yemen Resistance Watch or YRW), a non-profit media outlet, which established itself as a highly credible source, the “Saudi-led coalition forces have begun tracking the movements of leaders in Hadi’s government. This comes amid fears of certain politicians in the Hadi puppet government secretly forging alliances with Turkey… The coalition’s tightening of restrictions coincides with signs of upcoming Turkish intervention in Yemen, preceded by a series of travels by several of Hadi government officials between Aden, Cairo, Doha and Istanbul.”

In June 2020, middleeastmonitor.com reported that “Emirati-financed Arab Weekly, meanwhile, has been particularly vicious over the past three months, with articles accusing Turkey of building up its presence in Yemen, specifically in support of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Al-Islah Party. The allegations against Ankara include Egypt’s growing concerns such as Turkish ‘interference’ under the guise of humanitarian aid operating in three southern coastal regions and a joint ‘Qatar-Turkish plot’ to establish a militia recruitment camp in the Shabwa province.”

Ankara’s engagement seems to have greatly alarmed the kleptocratic regimes in the Gulf.

On July 23, Uprising Today reported that “Saudi Authorities have arrested a member of the Islah Party’s so-called Shura Council, Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani, and placed him under house arrest, the organization Prisoners of conscience has revealed.”

Turkey’s deep contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s connections in Yemen can provide a solid building block for a political solution in Yemen.

It should not be forgotten that one of the leading Iranian Islamic Revolutionary figures, Nawab Safavi, began his political activism through and with the Muslim Brotherhood.

To this day, the Islamic intellectual tradition of the Muslim Brotherhood is greatly appreciated among Iran’s leading Islamic jurists. Thus, intellectual and political grounds for Turkish-Iranian cooperation in Yemen are present.

Riyadh is far more vulnerable to Turkey’s political influence and moves than Iran’s.

The Saudis cannot play the sectarian card against Ankara and if they do, Turkey’s Ottoman legacy soft-power card trumps all Saudi soft-power machinations.

This was evident in Turkey’s decisive steps in Qatar and Libya. In both theaters, the Saudis did not put up much political or military resistance.

The reality is that even though Iran is the only Islamic state entity which provides Sunni Palestinians with the means for self-defense, 40 years of massive Saudi and Western propaganda built a sectarian political obstacle to Iran’s principled policies.

This obstacle prevents Iran from providing the Saudis with a face-saving exit from Yemen that the Saudis could accept.

This does not mean that Iran is not trying. Recently, former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is member of Iran’s Expediency Council, sent an open letter to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, providing a political opening for Saudi withdrawal from Yemen.

While it is unlikely that the Saudis would take up Ahmadinejad’s offer, they might have to accept it if they see that Turkey and Iran are about to go ahead on Yemen even without the Saudis.

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